Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Muppet Show with Popcorn (Week 6 of Fireflies at Dusk: a 52 Week Project)

This was Muppet Show Week which means I introduced my little one to a very important piece of my Gen X childhood.

As a little kid, I'd be so excited to go to my father's house at the end of the week - I'd get to see him every weekend before he moved to another state.  One  my best memories during this short time was making a giant bowl of popcorn and leaning back on over sized pillows to watch the show. 

So this week it was onto YouTube to watch season one (1976) - I don't remember watching these until they were on TV until the early 80s, but some of this looked familiar. 

I watched my little one watch the show for the first time and here is my report on her reactions:

1. Her eyebrows went up at the poofs of smoke lit up by colored lights as Dr.Teeth and the Electric Mayhem Band played their music.

2. She seemed suspicious as the Swedish Chef made a sub sandwich and then it began to fly.

3. She didn't seem interested in muppets circulating on the dance floor dropping one-liner jokes, but she did approve of Rowlf the Dog and his eagerly floppy ears.

As I watched this show for the first time in ages, I realized the two things that I loved most:

1. I loved when it would show the audience in the theater - all muppets themselves.  This made the muppet theater - a place always alive in my imagination - more real.   The audience would be cheering like crazy at the acts - so excited that they were sometimes unable to stay in their seats.   Who could blame them?

2. The second thing I realized I loved were the backstage conversations, the comraderie, the excitement getting ready to go live on stage, Kermit trying to sort out personality conflicts and dressing room space issues. 

In watching these backstage conversations I was learning how to deal with human relationships.  Jjust like muppets, every human being is at least a touch neurotic in their own unique way, yet we all need a chance - we all need to be loved anyway.  The affirming nod the muppets give when another one of them is talking is priceless.  Sometimes one muppet is speaking their heart and a whole room full of muppets nod simultaneously with boisterous validation.  If this happened in real life with people around you, imagine how happy that would make you feel!  If you had an audience so excited about your performance they could not even stay in their seat due to uncontainable excitement and applause, just think how confident you'd be! Could we humans all do that for each other more?
The next time you look around you at the people in your life, think of Kermit as the stage manager trying to sort out everyone's issues - these multi-colored foam rubber creatures full of quirks, complications and boundary-pushing gusto.  Kermit had his limits, which is important, but He still gave them a chance to go onstage - even when their jokes weren't all that funny, even when they hadn't quite shown up on time, even when they accidentally set things on fire.  Think of the people who gave you a chance to go onstage in spite of yourself and see if you can find an audience that appreciates your act so much that they explode with excitement at the end of your performance.  After taking your bow, make room for them onstage, go find a seat in the audience, and then do the same for them.

This blog entry is dedicated to my dearest friends who have cheered me on as I have decided to step up and go live with this blog.  I hope as our lives go on, that I can cheer you all on as much as you have done for me.


(c) 2011 photo and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved



Anonymous said...

I used to watch The Muppet Show every week. Just before it would come on, I would pull out all the pots & pans from the kitchen and set them up in front of the tv to bang on in imitation of Animal.

The beauty of the Muppets was not only in the writing, which was quite clever, but in the symbolism of the characters. Whether it is the shrill narcissism of Miss Piggy; the quiet compassion & optimism of Kermit; the ornery disagreeableness of Statler & Waldorf; or the bumbling witlessness of Beaker, the truth is that there is a little bit of all of them in each of us.


Anonymous said...

Yes... the Muppet Show was a beautiful microcosm of society.

Unfortunately, I will always connect the Muppets to an emotionally-scarring episode in 1st grade. Our class took weekly trips to the YMCA for swimming practice. One week, my mom made me take the only clean bathing towel we had in the house... a huge, faded pink, Miss Piggy towel. The exact one, in all its voluptuous glory, can be seen here...

The teasing was bad, very bad. Telly

Melissa M said...

How exciting! Leia is also a Muppet Fiend! We took her to her first movie (Winnie the Pooh) this week, and The Muppets trailer blew her mind... Can't wait until November... I'll have to get you guys the DVDs they've been invaluable parts of Leia's TV viewing from the start!

ChloeGXP said...

The Muppets will remain a huge piece of my Gen X childhood. I discovered them initially as a tot and loved them right away. I continued to love them from then on.